Video: Chaos reigns as visiting mascots assault racing presidents, Easter Bunny tackles Teddy Roosevelt, and Screech takes the tape

YouDee Nationals presidents raceEaster Presidents Race 01Easter Presidents Race 003Easter Presidents Race 002Two Nationals Park traditions literally collided on Sunday as the Washington Nationals celebrated Screech’s birthday with guest appearances by area mascots, and also celebrated Easter with an appearance by a certain bunny.

Each had a history of interfering with the fourth inning presidents race, but never on the same day. What followed wasn’t pretty.

When the race began, visiting mascots YouDee (University of Delaware), Slapshot (Capitals), Pinch (Maryland Blue Crabs), Bill the Goat (Navy), Talon (DC United), Testudo (University of Maryland), and The Colonial (George Washington University) all gathered along the first base line to greet the racing presidents.

George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy emerged from the centerfield gate wearing bunny ears, and Jefferson pulled ahead early, holding onto his lead until the presidents found themselves facing a sea of mascots in the home stretch.

That’s when Slapshot took a running leap over the back of fellow eagle Talon to nail the sage of Monticello with a head-butt.

Delaware’s YouDee then rammed in George Washington, smashing the father of our country’s face.

Finally Maryland’s Testudo stiff-armed Abe Lincoln, knocking off his ears and sending him to the ground.

The mascots then let Teddy Roosevelt run past, seemingly to secure his first victory of the season.

But alas, that’s when the Easter Bunny appeared from nowhere — or more accurately from the new Dugout Club section — and took down the Bull Moose with a vicious diving tackle.

Screech, repeating a scene from last season, waltzed across the finish line to steal the win.

Teddy, however, remains winless as the Nationals begin their road trip to Atlanta.


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Nats racing presidents return to old ways, robbing Teddy Roosevelt of victory to kick off 2017 season

It was just like old times, and not in a good way.

Teddy Roosevelt tripped Nationals Presidents RaceTeddy Roosevelt Nationals presidents raceTeddy Roosevelt loses presidents raceBaseball’s opening day is known as a time of hope, when records are wiped clean and fans look to the future with optimism.

But in the season’s inaugural presidents race Monday at Nationals Park, it seemed like 2012 all over again.

Nats fans had celebrated on social media when it was announced that recent additions to the race — Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover — had “retired” to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, and they got what they were hoping for, as for the first time in five years it was back to the Rushmore Four — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

But there was an unexpected extra dose of déjà vu for Teddy Roosevelt fans, as the other presidents conspired to rob Teddy of the victory, and revived memories of The Bull Moose’s historic 526-race losing streak.

Teddy had the lead in the home stretch, but Washington and Jefferson pushed him from behind, celebrating with a high five as Abe raced by for the win.

In another nod to the old days, it appears that the presidents race champions belt has been retired. Rather than being awarded a belt, Lincoln simply carried the checkered flag off the field.

Video for LetTeddyWin.com by lfahome

Video: Taft wins Nationals first Spring Training presidents race to christen Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

palm-beach-presidents-raceThe Washington Nationals’ shiny new ballpark in West Palm Beach, Florida opened Tuesday, and like it or not, brought 21st century amenities such such as a large video scoreboard and between-innings entertainment to the Nats’ spring training experience.

And as planned, when the fourth inning arrived, the team’s newly-“retired” racing presidents ran the first Grapefruit League presidents race.

In a race devoid of the hijinks common at Nationals Park, newly-retired William Howard Taft pulled away from Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover to take the historic victory.

Like the race in DC, the Palm Beach version is sponsored by GEICO. Unlike the Nationals Park version, the race started with a live introduction of the racers and a “Ready, Set, Go!” by the ballpark PA announcer.

Video courtesy of lfahome

Taft “retiring” to Palm Beach as well, leaving original Rushmore racing presidents at Nationals Park

Nationals New Racing President William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft is introduced to Nats fans in 2013

Washington Nationals racing president William Howard Taft will arrive this weekend at the Ball Park of the Palm Beaches and stay for good, joining the other “retired” racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge in their new home in West Palm Beach.

According to a report in the The Palm Beach Post, the Nats have made the decision to “retire” Taft as well, leaving just the original Mount Rushmore Four — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt — to race at Nationals Park during the Major League season.

The four were the only racing presidents for the beter part of seven seasons before Taft joined the presidents race in 2013. The addition of Taft was intended to “mix things up,” according to a marketing executive who is no longer with the team.

Teddy Roosevelt could not be reached for comment.

Magic 8 Balls, spiked water, tater tots and more: Nationals reveal select bobbleheads, promotions, and new concessions for 2017

nationals-hot-stove-camillo-rizzo-fpThe Washington Nationals held its annual “hot stove” gathering for full season plan holders at Nationals Park on Wednesday evening, featuring the team’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo, General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo, and broadcaster FP Santangelo.
As expected, Rizzo received questions about the team’s depth and bullpen, with no season-planholder-gift-2017great surprises revealed; but in keeping with tradition, Camillo had a few announcements related to the fan experience in 2017, including the annual season planholder gift, an “alternative leather” box.

The full promotional calendar will be announced February 16, but Camillo teased the crowd with a few previews, including an opening day giveaway of a Nationals Magic 8 Ball, a sliding Trea Turner bobblehead on May 12, and a Nationals Fedora on July 26.

Camillo also revealed a number of theme days for 2017, including Star Wars Day (May 27), 90s Night (August 11), and Oktoberfest (September 29). Special ticket events will include the return of College Days, Taste of the World (July 8), Ladies Night (July 29), and a new Easter Egg Hunt (April 16) and Mothers Day Brunch (May 14).

new-nationals-retail-clothingCamillo also revealed some new items for sale at the team stores, and some new items at select concession stands, including spiked water, a mojito cart, a tater tot stand, and three new food items: an italian sausage burger (sections 110, 141, and 310), a chicken fried steak sandwich (at Virginia Country Kitchen), and marinated chicken skewers (at Change Up Chicken in sections 110 and 129).

For what it’s worth, besides Turner, the Nats’ front line players yet to be featured on a bobblehead doll are Daniel Murphy, Tanner Roark, Adam Eaton, Joe Ross and Anthony Rendon (Rendon has been featured on a garden gnome). If the Nationals issue six bobbleheads as they have in recent years, this could be your list. Stay tuned for the rest of the promotional schedule in February.

Thanks to Luis Albisu for the photos and reports from the event.

 

Nationals Park will not have a visiting racing president for 2017

After much speculation that Franklin Roosevelt would join the Washington Nationals racing presidents for the 2017 season, the team acknowledged today that it would not happen.

In a statement this morning, a team spokesman said “While we engaged in extensive efforts to have FDR as a visiting Racing President for the 2017 season, in light of logistical challenges and lack of enthusiasm from the Roosevelt family, we were not comfortable proceeding.”

Nationals Racing Presidents New President Herbert HooverThe announcement suggests that the team’s multi-year promotion with the White House Historical Association will not include a visiting racing president for the upcoming season. In 2015 and 2016, the organization celebrated Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, respectively, and the NATS featured them as visiting” racing presidents.

The WHHA will be celebrating Franklin Roosevelt throughout 2017. Meanwhile, “Cal” and “Herbie” have “retired” to the team’s Grapefruit League spring training facility in West Palm Beach.

Nationals holding racing president auditions for Spring Training

As part of the team’s plan to “retire” racing presidents Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge to the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Washington Nationals are looking for seasonal workers to run in the presidents race at spring training.

nationals presidents race auditionsThe Nationals are advertising for adults between 5’7″ and 6’6″ in height who are able to work all 2017 Grapefruit League home games, and can run 200 yards wearing an unwieldy 50-pound costume.

Interested parties can apply here. Select applicants will be invited to an audition, where they will have the opportunity to don the costumes and show their stuff.

For those who haven’t seen it before, here’s a sample of what the auditions were like in previous years at Nationals Park:

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